The French Caudron G.III was a two seat, single-engined tractor biplane, with a twin-boom tail. The end of the lower booms was used as a landing skid. It was initially built in May of 1913. Its wing spars were of ash and spruce with reinforcing strips of metal. The wings had no dihedral. The design used wing warping, rather than ailerons, for controlling movement of the aircraft. Initially, the horizontal stabilizer also used warping, but later a hinged stabilizer was added. The aircraft was used as an Army cooperation and reconnaissance machine.
The Maurice Farman MF.7 "Longhorn" is a French reconnaissance biplane developed before World War I, which served in both the French and British air services in the early stages of the war before being used as a trainer aircraft.
It had a single Renault "pusher" engine. Its name derived from the distinctive front-mounted elevator and elongated skids.
The Maurice Farman MF.11 Shorthorn is a French reconnaissance and light bomber biplane developed during World War I by the Farman Aviation Works. It was essentially a Farman MF.7 with a more powerful engine, and a more robust and aerodynamic fuselage, which was raised above the lower wing on struts. The aircraft was also fitted with a machine gun for the observer, whose position was changed from the rear seat to the front in order to give a clear field of fire.
Its name derived from that of the MF.7 Longhorn, as it lacked the characteristic front-mounted elevator and elongated skids of its predecessor.
The MF.11 served in both the British and French air services on the Western Front in the early stages of the war. As a light bomber it flew the first bombing raid of the war when on 21 December 1914 an FM.11 of the Royal Naval Air Service attacked German artillery positions around Ostend, Belgium.
The MF.11 was withdrawn from front-line service on the Western Front in 1915, but continued to be used by the French in Macedonia and the Middle East, while the British also used it in the Dardanelles, Africa and Mesopotamia.
Italy's Societa Italiano Aviazione, a Fiat company, licence-built a number of MF.11s under the designation SIA 5 from early 1915, fitted with a fixed forward machine gun and a 74.5 kW (100 hp) Fiat A.10 engine.
The Voisin III (or Voisin 3) was one of the first two-seat bomber and ground attack aircraft of World War I. It was a pusher biplane, developed by Aeroplanes Voisin of Gabriel Voisin in 1914 as a more powerful version of the 1912 Voisin I (Voisin 1) design. It also incorporated a light steel frame which made it survivable in the temporary airfields of wartime military aviation.
The Voisin III became the standard Allied bomber in the early years of the war. The main users were the French Air Force and the Imperial Russian Air Force. Russia ordered over 800 in France and built a further 400 under license at DUX in Moscow. Around 100 were built in Italy, and 50 in the United Kingdom, while smaller numbers were purchased by Belgium and Romania. [read more]
The first Voisin III was powered by a single 120 horsepower Salmson M9 engine, later the 150hp P9 and R9. It had a range of 200 km, top speed of 105−113km/h and ceiling of 3350m−6000m (sources vary).
First armaments often included a machine gun (Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun) on the fuselage operated by a standing observer, later models had 37mm or 47mm guns for ground attack. It could carry up to 55 kg, 60kg or 150 kg of bombs (sources vary).
The Voisin pusher series performed a variety of missions, including reconnaissance, artillery spotting, training, day and night bombing, and ground attack.
On October 5, 1914 Sgt Joseph Frantz and Cpl Louis Quenault of Escadrille VB24 scored the first air-to-air kill (not involving ramming - see Pyotr Nesterov) of the war, shooting down a German Aviatik B.II with machine gun fire from their Voisin III over Jonchery, Reims. This is believed to be the first air-to-air kill in any war.
The Voisin III is also notable in being one of the first dedicated bombers. The steel frame construction of the aircraft enabled a bomb load of approx. 150 kg (330 lb) to be carried. With development, the final variants of the type were able to carry twice this load.
France was the first country to organize dedicated bomber units on the Western Front, using the Voisin. Three Escadrilles (squadrons) of the aircraft comprised the first bomber group, GB1, formed in September 1914 under the leadership of Commandant de Goÿs. de Goÿs´ contribution both as a tactical leader and theoretician, in developing the theory and practice of long range bombing sorties, is significant. An almost unopposed bombing campaign was conducted by GB1 during the early months of 1915, culminating in a retaliatory attack against the Badische Anilin Gesellschaft at Ludwigshafen, Germany, on May 26, 1915, shortly after the German Army introduced poison gas in battle. Of the 18 aircraft which took part, only Goÿs himself failed to return, his Voisin being forced down by mechanical failure.
Following the success of GB1 other bomber groups were formed and successful daytime attacks on targets within Germany ensued throughout the summer and autumn of 1915 with as many as 62 aircraft involved. But by 1916 advances in design meant that Voisin III became increasingly vulnerable to new, better performing, German fighter aircraft; it was soon withdrawn from day operations, and successfully replaced by newer models. In the Voisin series it was succeeded by Voisin V (Voisin 5). [close]